Coasts Value to the Nation

Programs and Initiatives

Coastal Engineering and Research Board (CERB)

The Coastal Engineering Research Board (CERB) functions as an advisory board to the Chief of Engineers and was established by Public Law in 1963. The Board provides broad policy guidance and review of plans and requirements for the conduct of research and development in support of coastal engineering and the objectives of the Chief of Engineers.  Through CERB, IWR provides support to the Director of Civil Works to organize CERB coordination in addition to guiding research and development.  

The Board is comprised of seven members. The President of the Board is the military position of Director of Civil Works. The other three military members are senior officers that are division engineers of coastal divisions. The three civilian members are outstanding in the broad field of coastal engineering. For more information on the Board, see the CERB website.

Coastal Systems Portfolio Initiative (CSPI)

The Coastal Systems Portfolio Initiative (CSPI) is an effort to develop a systems approach for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) coastal projects by considering the connectivity of projects in the Flood Risk Management, Navigation and Ecosystem Restoration business areas of USACE in order to better reduce damages and manage risks from coastal storms. CSPI is working to develop a rational, technically and economically sound decision-making framework for the USACE coastal program to ensure that projects are able to provide those benefits for which they were explicitly authorized. 

Through the Planning Center of Expertise – Coastal Storm Damage Reduction (PCX-CSDR), the USACE initiated this effort to examine and evaluate federal projects along the nation’s coastlines as a system of systems instead of as individual projects. The technical review of coastal projects presents a qualitative analysis of existing conditions, resources at risk, estimated federal future costs, and opportunities for action. CSPI has conducted studies of several coastal areas and will continue to do so in order to determine how to best use a systems approach.

National Ocean Policy (NOP)

IWR staff supports the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army Civil Works  and USACE Headquarters participation in the National Ocean Policy (NOP) initiatives, which are integral to the implementation of Executive Order 13547, establishing  a National Ocean Policy for the Stewardship of the Oceans, Our Coasts and the Great Lakes (July 19, 2010). The Executive Order adopted the final recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force and created a National Ocean Council (NOC) to pursue and call for a flexible framework for coastal and marine spatial planning to address conservation, economic activity, user conflict, and sustainable use of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes.

IWR staff regularly attends and engages in both the Ocean Resource Management (ORM) Interagency Policy Committee and the Ocean Science and Technology (OST) Interagency Policy Committee, attending monthly meetings and providing necessary edits and commentary to the National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan (NOP-IP) and serving on the OTS and ORM committees. IWR staff participated in developing the Implementation Plan.  The most current version is out for review, and the final is expected to be released in the spring of 2013.

IWR staff also participates in the Interagency Working Group on Ocean Partnerships (IWGOP), as part of the National Oceanic Partnership Program (NOPP). This interagency working group works to coordinate member agency coastal efforts, and encourage interagency participation on proposals from the various agencies relevant to the National Ocean Policy, and advises and assists the Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology (SOST) on matters related to ocean partnership programs.

For additional information on the National Ocean Council, see the White House website.

National Planning Center of Expertise for Coastal Storm Damage Reduction (CSDR)

There are seven National Planning Centers of Expertise (PCX) throughout USACE that support the agency with planning guidance and technical review.  The National Planning Center of Expertise for Coastal Storm Damage Reduction (CSDR) is one of these seven centers and focuses on coastal storm damage reduction, with an emphasis on regional sediment management and ecosystem restoration needs at both the national and international levels.

CSDR was formed in 2003 and is led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers North Atlantic Division and seeks to improve the quality and timeliness of coastal storm damage reduction studies. IWR coordinates with and supports the PCX, which has key program areas including hurricane evacuation plans, working with non-Federal partners on coastal issues, and collaborative planning. More information about the CSDR is available on the NAD website.

Systems Approach to Geomorphic Engineering (SAGE)

IWR supports the multi-agency Systems Approach to Geomorphic Engineering (SAGE) initiative, made up of members from USACE, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Nature Conservancy, the Conservation Fund, the Virginia Institute for Marine Sciences, the University of New Orleans, and the University of Rhode Island, and additional experts from states, academia, non-govern­mental organizations, private sector engineering organizations, and other agencies.

The SAGE initiative focuses on innovative approaches to coastal landscape transformation that advance a comprehensive view of shoreline change, and integrate methodologies that utilize hybrid approaches of green and gray engineering solutions in coastal communities and shorelines to slow, prevent, mitigate, and adapt to the impacts and consequences of changing weather and climate patterns. The SAGE approach looks at the entire coastal system, not just one component, and works to imple­ment hybrid engineering solutions that anticipate changes to the natural environment and provide protection for the coastline.